Melke Fall Winter 2023: Peaches & Punk

Playful and punk perfectly describes the attitude of Melke, with a touch of rebellion. For a first timer on the official NYFW Calendar, there was no sign of nervousness for founder Emma Gage, purely unbridled excitement. The runway show for Melke FW 23 was inspired by James and the Giant Peach, which was evident in the fruits scattered across different looks and especially prominent in a trending outfit of a peach bikini top paired with a green plaid (playful) skirt and diamond patterned tights. The knitwear was especially exciting for founder, Emma Gage, she actually dyed the wool in her own apartment. 

In the interview, Emma touched on her experience attending a school, where uniforms were required (dark plaid skirt and a white shirt). An inspiration that seems to be a common thread amongst designers (Les Enfants Deprimes held their SS23 runway show in a boarding school in Paris with a theme of rebellion), the ability to be joyful, fun, and quirky. Joyful rebellion is a foundation to this collection. On the inspiration of James and the Giant Peach “In the book, the centipede says “I am the only pest in this room!t,” everyone should be comfortable being themselves. That phrase has been thought of a lot for this collection.” – Emma Gage

“There is so much doom and gloom that has surrounded younger generations”, so the message of being able to have the choice of expression and to choose to be happy is part of the mission of Melke. Tying back to her experience at high school in Minnesota, the ability to dress yourself is something that is transformative as you grow, and is a part of figuring out who you are. 

“In design I’ve settled on this bright fun, sometimes masculine with feminine elements so it’s more of a transition. I got in trouble wearing fishnet tights when I was in high school and now I put them anywhere I can, but I like wearing bright colors and prints, I like this weird combination of things. For this collections, I think it’s more of a rebellion, just because it’s fall doesn’t mean I have to wear dark colors, I can still be wild.”- Emma Gage

A core pillar for Melke is a dedication to sustainability. When Melke was first started, the primary part of the business was more on the product side of things, with founder, Emma, going into factories in NYC and with a strong focus on the materials. “I decided I didn’t want to use any synthetics or plastics, there are some pieces where we are still trying to find a better alternative, we use a lot of hemp, and some deadstock upholstery material. I also didn’t want people to be working gin factories to be breathing in harsh chemicals for the stuff I’m working on.” – Emma Gage

The collection has the best intentions and the talent is certainly present. There is confidence that future shows will present looks that are more figure aware. The number of positive standouts and the number of negative standouts are the same, however there were more of the negative standout elements across the pieces. The knits were lovely, and there is a lot of potential in the designer. 

Positive Standouts

Peach bikini, Embroidered knits, Green checkered bustier, Teal overcoat with checked lining, Orange jacket

Words by Mariele Marki

Photography: Victoria Bruno,

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